A different type of Photo Challenge

When Kristina was visiting in Seattle for the opening of the latest StuckinPlastic exhibition an idea for a different type of photo challenge was born.  We had plenty of time to chat and we realized that we both like to challenge ourselves in the most esoteric ways. It also seems that we both have The Photographer’s Playbook by the Aperture Foundation. Soon an idea was born. We came up with a different type of photo challenge for ourselves, our fellow blog mates (if they choose to participate) and for you.

These challenges are based on The Photographer’s Playbook which is a series of photo assignments and ideas aimed at getting the reader to think about photography in new ways. They are also designed to kick all of us out of those safe, comfortable habits we so often fall back into.

After finishing my best of 2015 photo book I realized I really want to pair my photographs with words. Right now I pair them with inspirational quotes and this has been satisfying up to a point.  Now I want to push myself to go beyond other peoples words and incorporate my own text with my photographs. I am a big admirer of Darryl Jones and Matt Rhodes and how they incorporate stories, poems and anecdotes about their characters. Their words add a richness to their photographs and enhance my enjoyment of their work.

So in honor of that goal Kristina and I have decided that our first challenge would be: Words and Photographs.

“For this assignment, print one of your photographs on one half of a sheet of paper. On the other half, write something about the picture. The key is to write something that doesn’t destroy the magic of the photograph. Write in a straightforward way. Do not use adjectives or fancy words. Do not explain the picture; enhance it.

Once you are done, fold the piece of paper in half. Is the picture better without the writing? If so, repeat the assignment with different photographs until you’ve made a combination that is more than the sum of its parts. ” – Alex Sloth, The Photographer’s Playbook

This assignment excites me because this is exactly what I want to be creating with my photography: words with photos where the sum is greater than the parts.

Kristina and I have given each other two weeks to complete one successful combination and to report back here about the process. This is a challenge open to all who want to participate. If it goes well and we are successfully pushed outside of our safety zone, or inspire you, then we will try this again. In the mean time, I am going to put my thinking cap on and see if I can find an older image that could benefit from a few words.

~ xxSJC

I realize that now is a very busy time for most of us, so this may not be the best time to launch a new challenge. Perhaps you would like to sit this one out and see how we do? Maybe you are game from the get go?  I would love to hear your reaction to this latest challenge. 

Brown Bear Fishing (edited)
Is this image in need of a story, a poem or a personal anecdote to give it more content? Perhaps.
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8 years ago

I’d love to take part in this challenge but unfortunately I think I won’t have time to work on it, mostly because there are already a few challenges I want to work on this month. But surely I’m very curious to see how you do it. For the last two days I thought about how I would do it and I must admit I still have no idea. I can easily imagine how to write a few words, try to make a picture out of it and see if it’s better with the words. But doing the opposite I don’t… Read more »

Lyn Miller-Lachmann
8 years ago

A couple of years ago, I posted various series of photos with narrative threads, but I found that it took too much creative energy away from my main occupation, writing fiction (as in books). People told me I needed to focus on my next novel, which was already behind schedule. The novel is still behind schedule, but at least I’m nearly done with the first draft. Maybe I can get back to the LEGO stories when I’m between projects.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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